PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL: DIANA FROM CHICAGO, USA
As some of you guys know, I traveled for the first time in Iceland earlier this year (July 2016) and had quite an experience. There aren’t many countries that I’ve traveled to that has such raw beauty from every angle – and it’s definitely one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken.
Iceland has always been a destination that I’ve been eyeing on but never got around it – until my friend Diana went on November 2015. After seeing her pictures and hearing her stories, I made Iceland my top destination choice for 2016.
A fellow travel junkie, Diana and her sister also have their own travel blog where you can read interesting stories and useful tips from their travels. Go check them out: The MVMT Blog and Instagram: @themvmtblog.
2) NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
3) AGE AND FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP YOU TOOK
4 y/o – when I moved from my birthplace of China to my new home in the U.S.
4) FAVORITE COUNTRY AND WHY
Iceland. There is no country as beautiful as Iceland. Even in the winter when it is unbearably cold, I would still find myself standing outside trying to take in the most beautiful emptiness I have ever witnessed.
On top of that, Iceland is one of the most peaceful and safest countries, and it’s always nice to not have to worry about safety when I travel.
5) FAVORITE CITY AND WHY
Berlin. No city in the world has the same richness in history and contemporary art culture as Berlin. The juxtaposition of these two vastly different cultures creates an ambience that is energetic and sophisticated. I also like that the style of the city is a bit more grunge, which suits my style perfectly. I would never get bored living in Berlin.
6) FAVORITE CUISINE
Asian. I am ethnically Chinese and grew up eating predominantly Chinese food. While I like all food, I think my taste buds have been especially conditioned to accept Asian cuisine. I also have some digestive issues, and Asian food seems to sit well in my stomach more so than other types of cuisine. Again, this is likely due to the years of conditioning I received growing up and eating my mom’s home cooked Chinese meals.
7) HOTEL, HOSTEL, OR AIRBNB?
I am a big proponent of hostels. Hostels are affordable and a great way to meet fellow travelers from all over the world. I do a lot of solo traveling, so I love the community aspect of hostels.
8) LONGEST FLIGHT TAKEN
14-15 hrs (Chicago to Shanghai)
9) FAVORITE AIRLINE
I am not very picky when it comes to airlines, nor am I a plane aficionado, so I’m going to go with one of more interesting and unique airline experiences. I flew Air Serbia from London to Belgrade in April 2014 and loved it.
There was Serbian music on the plane as soon as I walked on. Once the flight took off, the flight attendants, who were all extremely polite, provided food and beverage service to us diligently for the remainder of the flight. I felt like I was receiving first class service while sitting in economy class!
10) MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
In Winter 2008, I traveled with my dad to Xishuangbanna, an area with predominantly minority groups near Kunming in the southern China province of Yunnan. We interacted with the locals there (who speak very little mandarin) and learned about their history and customs.
It was cool to see a group of people living completely independently of the Chinese culture, society, government, and commerce, and to uphold their traditions after all these years.
11) MOST CHALLENGING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Spending the summer after high school and before college working in China. I think it was just a really big culture shock for me that I wasn’t able to get used to in a short amount of time. It was also very hot there, which anyone who knows me knows I love the cold and can’t stand the heat, and not many places at that time had air conditioning.
Every aspect of life there was so different from what I was used to in the U.S., and it only took a couple of weeks of being there before I started counting down the days to my return to the U.S.
12) BEST TRAVEL ACTIVITY
Hiking Trolltunga in Norway. Coming from the Midwest, where land is completely flat, I don’t have many opportunities to hike a real mountain. Trolltunga was not only a fun and health activity for me, it was the longest and most physically demanding hike I’ve ever done. It really tested my determination and showed me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. It also reminded me of how much I enjoy being outdoors and how much natural beauty speaks to me.
13) FAVORITE TRAVEL SOUVENIR
Magnets!It’s the only souvenir I buy for myself when I travel. I actually got the idea to buy travel magnets from my parents because they used to buy magnets from every new place they travelled to, and I took up that tradition once I started living and travelling on my own.
14) MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM PIC
This is a slight variation of our most liked IG pic. This is a photo of my sister and I at Trolltunga. We hiked a grueling 22 miles that day in 11 hours. It was the most physically demanding thing either of us has ever had to do, but it was completely worth it.
I would recommend training for it if you are thinking about attempting it! A good number of people were airlifted out by helicopters this summer because they were physically unable to complete the hike.
15) FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTE
“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” I guess this isn’t so much a travel-specific quote as much as it is a quote that inspires me to live my life the way I do. I want my life to count, and at the end of the day I want to feel like I’ve lived my life to the fullest – that I’ve seen everything I’ve wanted to see, I’ve experienced everything I wanted to experience, and I’ve made as big of a positive impact on the world as I could.
16) FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS
Copenhagen/Faroe Islands in November; U.S. Virgin Islands in December; Iceland/UK/Ireland/Scotland in March (1st half); SEA in March (2nd half) & April.
Those are just the big international trips that I’ve planned. Will probably some domestic/Canada travel in between.
17) BUCKET LIST
In no particular order: safari in South Africa, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, rainbow mountain in Peru, salt flats in Bolivia, and Greenland But really my bucket list includes visiting all 196 countries at some point in my life.
18) YOUR TRAVEL INFLUENCER
Jodi is an ex-attorney from NYC who quit her job as a lawyer to travel the world. Although she was only planning on traveling for one year, she is not 8 years in and still has not returned home – or better put – she has found her home around the world. Today, she blogs about eating with celiacs disease in countries all around the world.
She really resonates with me because I am an attorney as well and have also struggled with digestive issues my entire life, so I can relate entirely to where she’s coming from and have been able to find very helpful tips on her blog.